We all know the seemingly endless benefits of vitamin C, or liquid gold as I like to call it. But which products can you pair with your vitamin C serum to maximize your skin-care routine and keep your complexion bright, healthy and youthful-looking? We’ve got the top picks from leading dermatologists and aestheticians.
“With the right combination of essential active ingredients, skin-care products can provide rejuvenating benefits that can be far-reaching with visibly significant results,” says Bloomfield Hills, MI dermatologist Linda C. Honet, MD.
ISDIN Eryfotona Actinica SPF 50+ ($60)
“Sunscreen is always the most important product to pair with vitamin C, and this is one of my favorites. Sunscreen not only protects against skin cancer, but is also the most important anti-aging and photo-protective effect anyone can take in their daily skin-care routine. Sunscreen in combination with vitamin C can help brighten skin and prevent fine lines, wrinkles, spots, etc.” —Fort Lauderdale, FL dermatologist Dr. Matthew Elias
“Niacinamide and vitamin C are both excellent ingredients for fighting off hyperpigmentation, so they’re great to use together. I like this formula because it can be mixed directly into your vitamin C serum.” —Toronto dermatologist Geeta Yadav, MD
“Though it really depends on which vitamin C formula you are using, brightening products pair beautifully with vitamin C, as it already helps to even out our skin tone. You can boost that effect by using a brightening serum like this one. Vitamin C can also cause photosensitivity, so sunscreen is a non-negotiable when using it.” —Celebrity aesthetician Morgan Rackley
“A vitamin C’s BFF is SPF. I always recommend pairing vitamin C with sunscreen for multiple reasons. This powerful duo is the ultimate defense against fighting UV rays and protecting against other environmental aggressors, which is the number-one external factor involved in aging skin. In fact, studies have shown that combining an antioxidant serum such as vitamin C with a sunscreen was more effective at reducing sun damage than using sunscreen alone.
I like pairing my vitamin C serums with a sunscreen like this one that also has antioxidant benefits for max results. I love this one because it is a broad-spectrum, mineral-only sunscreen with a subtle tint that contains antioxidants like phytoene and phytofluene to further protect against free radicals, and ectoin, which helps protect against blue light.” —Pittsburgh dermatologist Lindsey Zubritsky, MD
“Peptides and hyaluronic acid are great to pair with your vitamin C, as the ingredients complement each other in brightening, hydrating and plumping the skin. However, it’s important to note that copper peptides should be avoided immediately following the application of vitamin C, as studies show that copper oxidizes ascorbic acid, rendering it less effective.” —Omaha, NE dermatologist Joel Schlessinger, MD
“I advise using vitamin C serum in the morning, and then a moisturizer with antioxidant ingredients and/or other actives at night. This hydrating moisturizer with Vibransea Complex—a proprietary salmon egg enzyme—gently and enzymatically exfoliates the skin. It also contains wild oat extract for anti-inflammatory benefits and honeysuckle extract for an antioxidative effect.” —Dr. Honet
“Vitamin C is a great product to pair with your daily sunscreen, in fact, they work in tandem to help keep skin optimally protected. Vitamin C is an antioxidant, so it helps scavenge any free radicals that your sunscreen might miss. While vitamin C isn’t a replacement for sunscreen by any means, it can help boost its efficacy when used together. This one from EltaMD is my favorite because it provides superb sun protection and won’t clog pores or irritate sensitive or acne-prone complexions. In fact, it actually improves acne with a unique combination of lactic acid and high-purity niacinamide.” —Dr. Schlessinger
“I recommend using a peptide serum twice a day, in conjunction with your vitamin C serum. This is an innovative peptide serum in a moisturizing base with TriHex Technology that boosts collagen and elastin synthesis and repair in the skin.” —Dr. Honet
“Ferulic acid is a potent antioxidant that helps stabilize vitamin C while strengthening its efficacy. This leave-on treatment can be used before your vitamin C serum to help support its results, and beyond ferulic acid, it contains lactic acid, a gentle AHA to help boost skin’s radiance, as well as nourishing squalane.” —Dr. Yadav
“Pairing vitamin C during the day with a retinoid at night can be very effective. This cream is an innovative combination of a retinoid and an alphahydroxy acid in an emollient, antioxidant base. It improves lines, wrinkles, texture, and uneven pigment, while reversing the signs of intrinsic and extrinsic aging and photodamage.” —Dr. Honet
“This is another nighttime moisturizer I recommend to patients who are using vitamin C serums. It provides gentle hydration and is well-tolerated by even the most sensitive skin. It contains ceramide-3, niacinamide, glycerin, and proprietary prebiotic thermal water, helping to repair the barrier of the skin and maintain effective hydration for up to 48 hours after application. It’s simple, effective and inexpensive.” —Dr. Honet